Monday, April 16, 2012

Eye Time

Spring walleye fishing can be fickle. The window of opportunity from ice-out through the spring spawn can open and close and open again in hours on Montana reservoirs. When water temperatures creep into the mid-forties, walleyes begin their quest to reproduce and point their noses up rivers and creeks. Anglers also become anxious this time of year, looking forward to that first boat ride of the year and with a little luck, the first 'eye of the season.
The first open-water adventure of 2012 was a complete bust. Dad and I never caught a fish in 7 hours of fishing. The Mighty Mo' was running muddy and cold. I had envisioned having the market corned on large, spawning walleyes, but came home with my tail between my legs.
This past weekend, things had changed. The water was clearer and slightly warmer. Good numbers of walleyes were in shallow water, two to 12 feet deep. Our presentation was simple, just pitching jigs and minnow toward shore, keeping the boat just out of the heavier current.
While the majority of the fish were males, we did catch a few larger females that were pushing 25". We practiced a somewhat-selective harvest, keeping mostly smaller males, but a few females around three pounds also became a very appreciated, new culinary success back home. Walleye season is officially underway.

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